Acoustic design of water features for the built environment

Laurent Galbrun, Tahrir Taki Ali

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Due to their inherent positive quality and sound masking properties, water generated sounds are very popular in the context of soundscape design. This paper examines the acoustic properties of waterfalls, cascades and fountains tested in the laboratory under controlled conditions. The study was developed in view of characterising the impact of design factors on the acoustics of small to medium sized water features which can be installed in a variety of outdoor and indoor spaces. The laboratory approach ensured an accurate and reliable analysis of water generated sounds, and the flexible structure used for the research allowed testing a wide range of design factors such as flow rate, source’s height, waterfall’s width, waterfall’s edge design and impact material. Results show that LAeq increases logarithmically with flow rate for most of the designs tested. Furthermore, larger sound pressure levels can be obtained by generating vibrating bubbles; this can be done by distributing the same amount of water over several streams, as well as by using water as an impact material rather than solid surfaces. Comparisons with road traffic noise predictions also show that there is a mismatch between the frequency responses of traffic noise and water sounds, with the exception of waterfalls with large flow rates that can generate low frequencies comparable to those of traffic noise.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAcoustics 2011: A new decade – a new reality: rethinking acoustic practices for the austerity decade
    Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Institute of Acoustics
    PublisherInstitute of Acoustics
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Electronic)1478-6095
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011
    EventAcoustics 2011 - Glasgow, United Kingdom
    Duration: 14 Sept 201115 Sept 2011


    ConferenceAcoustics 2011
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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